Today is the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare (and possibly the 452nd anniversary of his birth). It is amazing to think that his words are still spoken today, but when you hear them it soon becomes how they have stood the test of time. I was going to write something to mark the day and was torn between an article on the best movies to take their plot from Shakespeare plays or best movies of his plays. In the end I decided against either. I hated Shakespeare at school! I couldn’t stand reading stupid old plays that I barely understood, they may as well have been in a foreign language. It wasn’t until I went to university and a friend convinced me to watch a film of one of his plays, Henry V as I remember, that it clicked. Plays are not to there to be read like a book, they are to be performed by actors. That’s why I decided to post a few clips of performances of the Bards work. I was planning to pick clips from different plays but couldn’t decide which version of his most famous Soliloquy so I decided to go with multiple versions of it.
I couldn’t find a version of Nicol Williamson from Tony Richardson’s adaptation, except bizarrely one dubbed into Russian. I didn’t include that but did use Grigori Kozintsev’s Russian adaptation. I haven’t seen any version for several years, from memory, the Kenneth Branagh version looks amazing and the Franco Zeffirelli/ Mel Gibson one is better than you would expect it to be.